We get cramps when our muscles start to contract involuntarily. Cramps are physical and visual – you can often see the muscle spasming into a knot.
AVOID THEM Stay hydrated by drinking well before your run or taking a drink with you on runs longer than 90min or in hot conditions. Potassium and magnesium help your muscles work more efficiently, but before you reach for the supplements you can boost your potassium intake by eating more sweet potato, avocado and butternut squash, while nuts and seeds are an excellent source of magnesium. Seemingly, the more tired the muscle the more frequent the cramp. The best way to avoid muscle fatigue in races is to ensure you’ve trained properly so your muscles are adapted to the effort.
TREAT THEM Stop running and start stretching the cramping muscle. If it’s not too painful, gently massage the painful area in a bid to help the muscle relax. But don’t stay static for too long. By moving around gently you are telling your muscle that it needs to get back into a pattern of regular contraction and relaxation.